- InterviewerTim Williams
Interview with ‘Tenek’……
Geoff Pinckney was in conversation with Tim W.
Tim: Geoff, I read the following description of your music, would you say this is a fair assesment?
“Tenek are all about hard grinding electro grooves, a power house of classic British synthesizer pop and stabs of driving guitar. Producing a unique crossover which is credible and satisfying to both the cult electro scene and yet retaining a mass market appeal through the their melodies and hooks”.
Geoff: “Yes indeed! That sums us up nicely. I’ll use that every time someone asks me to describe the sound of Tenek in future!”
Tim: To further pursue the theme of the above question: I’m interested in how bands, genres and sub-genres can become pigeon-holed. There are now more sub-genres of electronic music alone than I can cope with, and in any case whats wrong with the phrase ‘damn good pop music’. It always seems to be a double edged sword – in one sense it is useful, directing people to the kind of music they already like….but its also a curse…leading to the promotion of narrow tastes and exclusion?
Geoff: “That’s a valid point. It’s definitely a catch 22 situation. But as with anything it’s subjective. Fundamentally for a band it’s that age old problem of how do we get people to know we exist and to hear our music. You have to put yourself somewhere to start with and referring to that statement above I can already see at least three genres!”
“I still believe in word of mouth. That’s how I came across all the music that influenced me in my younger years, that’s how it worked for a lot of underground bands back then and still does today via social networking etc. Fortunately we also have radio DJ’s like ‘Dave Charles’ and ‘Rob Harvey’ who give those like ourselves in the underground scene a chance to reach a wider audience, and there are also those who do their own Podcasts featuring underground artists, and great events like BAS, all of whom make a huge difference by giving bands a chance to get their sound out to an appreciative audience, and ultimately bringing like minded people together”.
“Perhaps one day we’ll say to our computers, ‘play me what I like’ but where’s the fun in that! I think it encourages the thrill of discovery and adds value to the music we find because it’s not so easily obtainable, just look at how disposable todays commercial music appears to be. I’ve always gravitated towards underground electronic music and there’s always a gem to be found!”
Tim: Within this ever changing milieu, how has Tenek developed over the time you’ve been together since 2007 and what has driven that change?
Geoff: “Well, we’ve been mostly driven by our own desires and musical influences. We kind of do what we feel like doing at the time. Each album captures a time and place that we’re in creatively. There’s always the underlying ethic that there should be a song at the core of every track but sometimes we like to challenge that and try something a little out of our comfort zone. Fortunately we have the freedom to make that choice. There is a notable progression within our albums though be it better songwriting or production and mixing skills, and we do like to consciously feel we are making something that builds on what we’ve done previously. There’s always the influence of other music that we’ve listened to within that time that inspires us to try different sounds and approaches. The next album, ‘Smoke and Mirrors’, will sound familiar to those who know Tenek but I feel it has more depth and variety too”.
Tim: With two albums already under your belt – Stateless (2009) & On the the Wire (2011), you’ve been busy working on your third album ‘Smoke & Mirror’s’. Is it near completion and what are your plan’s for its release?
Geoff: “It’s getting close. It’s been a bit slow due to my focussing on other areas like production and mixing for other bands/artists but it’s now at the stage where we’re down to finishing off lyrics, recording vocals and final production/mixing. Plenty to do but it’s shaping up nicely and that’s what matters to us”.
“We’ll be launching the album at the Garage, Islington on 28th November 2015 where we will be playing the album in its entirety and will be available in CD format – yes, we still like a trophy!” Tickets are available now via www.flagpromotions.co.uk
Tim: What do you feel Tenek fan’s will notice most ….in what sense do you see it as a progression? What would you highlight?
Geoff: “As I said earlier, there’s more depth to the tracks. Our production values are higher. This time instead of trying to do everything ourselves we’ve called on the likes of bass players Sam Morrison and Paul Jackson (T’Pau) to play on tracks where we wanted them to inject some of their ideas, to take them up a level. We’re also including drums from our new drummer Steve Clark in some of the tracks where we think it’s needed. That’s our new approach with this album, taking things beyond the confines of the duo. The tracks are sounding more mature because of this”.
Tim: Apart from the period when Roger Millington joined Tenek you have basically remained a duo. You have now been joined by live drummer Steve Clark and I understand you will be augmenting the live line-up with a forth member.in the near future. I imagine this will have quite an exciting impact on the live dynamic. What was the thinking behind this new phase for Tenek?
Geoff: “We want to be able to put on a bigger and better show for our audience. We’ve always been aware of the limitation of just two guys on stage. Steve has already demonstrated what he can bring to a live situation, there is so much more energy on stage and that translates to the audience. There will be a fourth live member which we will announce in good time”.
Tim: Here is the Video for ‘Higher Ground’ from ‘Tenek’s’ 2011 album ‘On the Wire’, fimed by Sim Films at Coalhouse Fort, Tilbury in Essex.
Tim: Do have any plans for a further filming?
Geoff: “We’re currently working on a new video to go with the release of the new single, ‘What Kind Of Friend?’ Due for release later this year”.
Tim: On tour…. You’ve toured and played with many bands. Toyah, Republica, Gary Numan, Heaven 17, De/Vision and Mesh amongst many others. Geoff , you yourself have been in Mesh. Can you say a little about Tenek’s experiences on the road and some highlights?
Geoff: “Well, it’s always been fun for sure, and a little scary at times! Highlights would be…
…our second gig supporting The Human League no less.
We had a technical issue during our set at INFEST and the way we handled it won the audience over, which in turn resulted in some very positive reviews.
The album launch of ‘On the Wire’ at The Albert in Brighton. It’s on record as the hottest gig ever! It was rammed and people were melting. We greatly underestimated the size of audience that we would get for that event!
Our recent gig with Republica at Under the Bridge, London. The venue was amazing – great sound, lights, staff and audience, great line up of bands and even the toilets are worthy of praise!”
Tim: A couple of years ago I was delighted when I learned of your support and musical contribution to the ‘Sophie Lancaster Foundation’ fundraising record – ‘Tenek vs The Last Cry’. I personally was very lucky, I escaped ‘looking different’ in the 1980’s in Basildon with a broken nose and a few black eyes. Could you say a little about your motivations, and being involved with the other contributing artists such as Julianne Regan?
Geoff: “As a band and as individuals that have been included in the alternative scene for many years we feel very strongly about the cause. People should be able to express themselves however they want without fear of threat from others that have nothing better to do with their lives”.
“Both bands worked on their tracks individually so only the TLC boys had the pleasure of working with Julianne Regan. Another time perhaps!”
Tim: BAS 2015: So this will be you third appearance at the main ‘BAS Synth Event’. You played alongside ‘Blancmange’ in 2012 and ‘Heaven 17’ in 2013. This year you play main support to De/Vision at BAS 2015. You already have experience of working with De/Vision on their 25th anniversary tour – what are your thoughts about playing at BAS this year?
Geoff: “We’re really looking forward to it. Everyone involved in BAS has a genuine affinity with the music and the bands and this comes across in how the event is presented and received, so it’s a great pleasure to be asked back once more :)”
Many thanks Geoff, wishing you and Peter all the best!
Tim W. June 2015.
Tenek on fb: https://www.facebook.com/tenekinfo?fref=ts
Tenek YouTube Chanel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TenekOfficial